UPDATE TUESDAY, NOV. 1: Massachusetts residents have less than a week to take advantage of this program. The rebate program will end on Monday, Nov. 7 at 9 p.m. or until the funds are exhausted, the state announced. Visit www.massenergyrebates.com for more.
Massachusetts residents interested in upgrading to more energy efficient appliances can take advantage of the state’s Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program. The program, which started on July 28 and will continue while funds last, offers rebates of $150 on refrigerators and $50 on air conditioners when customers buy ENERGY STAR appliances to replace less efficient models.
The program is expected to honor approximately 20,000 rebates worth $2 million. The rebates will be paid for by funds from a US Department of Energy American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and funds available to promote energy efficiency from a nitrogen oxides cap and trade program established to reduce ozone pollution.
According to a statement from state Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan, Jr., the program is expected to “[cut] energy consumption and costs, while stimulating the economy with retail sales.”
In Melrose, both Gray’s Appliance and Hugo’s Appliance are participating in the program. Al Porcaro, co-owner of Hugo’s, and Will Gray, Sales Manager at Gray’s, both said their stores have “absolutely” seen an uptick in business since the rebate program began last week.
“People are excited about it,” Gray said. “It was really, really busy on Thursday, very busy on Friday, and nuts on Saturday.”
This year’s program will be the second round of rebates offered under the federal Recovery Act, which allocated $6.2 million to Massachusetts to administer an Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program. Funds were also distributed in 2010.
The 2010 program allowed consumers to reserve the rebates before purchasing their appliances. When it started, all of the rebates were claimed within four hours and the demand crashed the program website. Both Gray and Porcaro say that this year’s system is more effective and efficient; service representatives at the store can walk consumers through the process, and customers can take advantage of in-store specials running concurrently with the rebate program.
The steps of the rebate process were relayed in a press release and are summarized here:
1) Customers can confirm real-time availability of rebate funds on the program’s website, the customer service phone line, or at retail locations registered to participate.
2) Customers who purchase a new ENERGY STAR room air conditioner must bring their old unit in for recycling at the time of purchase, and must certify on their rebate application that they have traded it in.
3) Those purchasing a new ENERGY STAR refrigerator can have it delivered. They must certify on their rebate application that their old refrigerator has been taken away.
4) At time of purchase, a rebate application must be filled out online. This places a hold on the requested funds. (Those who apply via the customer service center will receive their completed application in the mail.) The signed application with certification of trade-in must then be sent in with proof of purchase(s).
5) The progress of the application can be tracked online or through the service center.
6) Rebate payments will be sent via U.S. mail.
Those wishing to participate in the program can track the amount of funds remaining by visiting www.MassEnergyRebates.com. As of press time, just over half of the funds had been used.
Asked what the public should know about the rebate program, Porcaro said, “You better hurry up because it’s going to be over.”